Question
Mon November 26, 2012 By:
 

what are the symptoms of cancer?

Expert Reply
Tue November 27, 2012

Cancer is a group of diseases that can cause almost any sign or symptom. The signs and symptoms will depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects the organs or tissues. If a cancer has spread i.e. metastasized, signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body.

  • As a cancer grows, it can begin to push on nearby organs, blood vessels, and nerves. This pressure causes some of the signs and symptoms of cancer. If the cancer is in a critical area, such as certain parts of the brain, even the smallest tumor can cause symptoms.
  • But sometimes cancer starts in places where it will not cause any signs or symptoms until it has grown quite large. Example - cancers of the pancreas usually do not cause symptoms until they grow large enough to press on nearby nerves or organs .This causes back or belly pain. Others may grow around the bile duct and block the flow of bile. This causes the eyes and skin to look yellow. By the time a pancreatic cancer causes signs or symptoms like these, it’s usually in an advanced stage.
  • A cancer may also cause symptoms like fever, extreme tiredness (fatigue), or weight loss. This may be because cancer cells use up much of the body’s energy supply, or they may release substances that change the way the body makes energy from food. Or the cancer may cause the immune system to react in ways that produce these signs and symptoms.
  • Sometimes, cancer cells release substances into the bloodstream that cause symptoms which are not usually linked to cancer. For example, some lung cancers make hormone-like substances that raise blood calcium levels. This affects nerves and muscles, making the person feel weak and dizzy.
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